ELLIS COUNTY VETERANS
CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR
First Lieutenant Jack Lummus, USMC Reserve
Awarded posthumously for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity, at the risk of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty….He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.
Leader of a Rifle Platoon attached to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division, he was killed in action against Japanese forces on Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, March 8, 1945, at the age of 29.
His citation for heroic actions may be viewed at the National Medal of Honor Museum of Military History: Jack Lummus, MOH
Congressional Medal of Honor
The highest award for valor in action against an enemy force to be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Awarded to its recipient by the President of the United States in the name of Congress, it is commonly a posthumous medal presented to those who have distinguished themselves at the risk of their own life and above and beyond the call of duty.
Created by a Resolution signed into law by President Lincoln on December 21, 1861, the first Medals of Honor were presented 150 years ago, March 25, 1863, to soldiers during the Civil War.
DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS
A member of the heroic Doolittle Tokyo Raiders who volunteered for a daring and dangerous air raid over Tokyo in U.S. response to the devastation of Pearl Harbor. Recruited from the 17th Bombardment Group, Lt. McElroy was pilot of plane #13. Designated as the “Special B-25 Project,” 10,000 Navy personnel and a task force of ships escorted 16 B-25 bombers and 80 crewmen within striking distance of the Japanese homeland on April 18, 1942.
Among commendations awarded to Lt. McElroy were the Distinguished Flying Cross and Silver Star.
LT. EDGAR MCELROY, USAAF
Distinguished Flying Cross
The Distinguished Flying Cross is a military decoration awarded to any officer or enlisted member of the United States Armed Forces. They must distinguish themselves in support of operations by “heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight, subsequent to November 11, 1918.”
The first Distinguished Flying Cross was awarded on May 2, 1927 by President Calvin Coolidge. The recipients were ten Air Corps aviators participating in the U.S. Pan American Goodwill Flight during December 21, 1926 to May 2, 1927. Having just been authorized by Congress the previous year, initially certificates were presented to the Pan American airmen as no medals had yet been struck.
Charles Lindbergh would receive the first presentation of the medal from President Coolidge during a Washington, D.C. homecoming reception, June 11, 1927, in honor of his trans-Atlantic flight. The medal was hurriedly struck and readied just for the occasion.
A highly decorated combat pilot with extensive service in WWII and the Korean War. One of the last surviving dive-bomber pilots attached to a squadron from the legendary U.S.S. Enterprise, a carrier earning more battle stars than any other U.S. warship.
Following World War II, LCDR Robinson’s assignments included duty aboard the USS Midway and a Pentagon post with the Chief of Naval Operations. At the onset of the Korean War, he returned to the air flying Corsairs from the USS Boxer.
During two wars and hundreds of missions, he was awarded over a dozen medals for distinguished service including the Navy Cross, Air Medal, and Legion of Merit.
LCDR LEONARD ROBINSON, USN
The Navy Cross was established by an Act of Congress and approved on February 4, 1919. It was designed by James Earle Fraser, a distinguished sculptor and member of the nation’s Fine Arts Commission.
On August 7, 1942, Congress made the Navy Cross a combat only decoration with precedence over the Distinguished Service Medal. It thus became the Navy’s 2nd highest award.
Awarded for extraordinary heroism, actions that merit the Navy Cross must be of such a high degree that they are above those required for all other U.S. combat decorations with the exception of the Medal of Honor. The Navy Cross is equivalent to the Air Force Cross and the Distinguished Service Cross for the Army.
The Air Medal was established by an Executive Order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on May 11, 1942 and made retroactive to September 8, 1939. The medal is awarded to those who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Armed Forces of the United States, have distinguished themselves by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight.
The designer was Walker Hancock who competed for the medal design as a civilian and was later inducted into the Army prior to the competition award.
Notable recipients have included Buzz Aldrin, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Doolittle, Clark Gable, John Glenn, John McCain, George McGovern, Colin Powell, H. Norman Schwarzkopf, James Stewart, and Chuck Yeager.
WW II Skipper of PT-161 assigned to Squadron Ron 9, PT Boat Base 11, Rendova Island in the South Pacific. Eventually designated to support his Commander during operations in the Solomon Islands, he subsequently served as Boat Captain of multiple PT boats during combat patrols.
Although LT McElroy’s “death” was reported by Tokyo Rose propaganda, he would be awarded a Silver Star for action against Japanese destroyers at Rendova Island and South Vella Gulf. Later, during enemy evacuation of Bairoko, New Georgia, he would take part in six successful engagements with more than 25 enemy barges.
LT JOHN MCELROY, USN
The Silver Star is the third-highest military decoration for valor awarded to a member of the United States Armed Forces. It is presented for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States.
Actions that merit the Silver Star must be of such a high degree that they are above those required for all other U.S. combat decorations with the exception of the Medal of Honor or a Service Cross (Navy Cross, Air Force Cross, and Distinguished Service Cross for the Army).
Notable recipients have included Omar Bradley, Alexander Haig, Lyndon B. Johnson, John Kerry, Douglas MacArthur, John McCain, Audie Murphy, George S. Patton, and H. Norman Schwarzkopf.
FRENCH LEGION OF HONOR (Chevalier)
A volunteer at 18 with the 75th Infantry, Division A Company, 290th Regiment. In the Ardennes Forest during the Battle of the Bulge, his division had never experienced combat prior to a German attack on December 16, 1944. Although the average age for the entire division was under 20 years, they successfully held their position to drive out enemy forces.
Pvt Atchley later fought in the battle of the Colmar Pocket in Alsace and Lorraine, France. He was awarded two Bronze Stars for courage exhibited in both campaigns. A French Legion of Honor would be gratefully bestowed by France in a U.S. ceremony nearly seven decades later.
PVT CHARLES ATCHLEY, U.S. ARMY
French Legion of Honor
The medal in the French Order of the Legion of Honor was established by Napoleon Bonaparte on May 19, 1802. It is the highest decoration in France and divided into five degrees: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer), and Grand Croix (Grand Cross). The honor’s motto is Honneur et Patrie (“Honour and Fatherland”).
The medal was created to honor extraordinary contributions to France and awarded to U.S. veterans who risked their life during World War II to fight on French territory. Eligible for any of the armed forces, they must have fought in at least one of three main campaigns in Liberation of France: Normandy, Northern France or the Southern Provence.
A French civilian acknowledged by this award was Louis Pasteur who received the Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1853.
CROIX de GUERRE (BELGIUM)
A tank commander in the 4th Armored Division, Lt. Hitt saw action in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany. In the Ardennes Forest during the Battle of the Bulge and the coldest winter in 100 years, he received battlefield commission of Lieutenant and awarded a Belgium Croix de Guerre for his leadership under fire.
Shot in the head when his tank was hit by enemy forces inside Germany, his crew, believing him dead, left him inside their burning tank. Miraculously, he survived to escape on his own.
LT Harry Hitt, U.S. Army
Croix de Guerre (Belgium)
The Croix de Guerre, a military decoration of the Kingdom of Belgium, was established by royal decree on October 25, 1915. It was primarily awarded for bravery or other military virtue on the battlefield.
The award was re-established on July 20, 1940 by the Belgian Government, exiled in London, for recognition of bravery and military virtue, including by allied forces during World War II. The post-1940 decoration could also be awarded to units that were cited and the decoration was re-established again by an April 3, 1954 royal decree for award during future conflicts.
Notable foreign recipients during 1940-1945 included General George Patton (US), Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery (UK), and General Harry Crerar (Canada).